The 21st century is now in its seventh year, and frankly, I don’t see a lot to like. Granted, I’m an avowed antiquarian, who smokes a pipe, uses a pocket watch, and prefers a fountain pen, but nonetheless I knew we were off to a bad start just by the number of morons who thought that the new millennium started in the year 2000. It’s always a bad sign when a significant portion of the population of an industrialized nation can’t even do simple math.
In no particular order here’s a list of things that are pissing me off about the new century.
Suicide bombers: Wait just a minute here, God told you to do what? Sorry pal, that wasn’t God, it was the voices in your head. About the only good thing I can say about these guys is that they can only ply their vile trade once. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of deluded souls out there who really think that God will be pleased with them for killing a bunch of innocent people.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Basically a shill for the Muslim theocracy that really runs Iran. The man says the Holocaust never happened, and then wonders why he has no credibility with the international community. And now he wants nuclear weapons. Anyone with half a brain in their head should find this absolutely chilling. Say what you want about the Cold War, in retrospect both the Americans and the Russians were the epitomes of diplomatic restraint. For all their rhetoric and saber-rattling, both sides in truth realized that blowing up the planet was a bad idea. Not so with Ahmadinejad. I really believe he would start a nuclear holocaust in the name of Allah. One way or another, he has to go. With any luck, the Israelis will do our dirty work for us like they have so many times before.
Kim Jong-il: Essentially the same rant here as for Ahmadinejad. Except I don’t think he’s ever denied the holocaust. But he is building up his military while his people are starving to death. Another one who has to go.
Barry Bonds: Even before the steroids scandal, he was widely known as the Biggest Asshole in Baseball. Now he will probably break the home run record set by Hank Aaron, an honorable man and gifted athlete who endured painful racial slurs throughout his career but played the game the right way. The day he breaks the record, every fan in the park should stand up and turn their back. They won’t, though.
The New York Yankees: I’m a Red Sox fan. I had to get that one in here.
Britney Spears: C’mon, you KNEW I’d get to her sooner or later. It’s not that I hate her, as such. In fact, I kinda feel a little sorry for the little tart. But I hate what she represents: a whole generation of narcissistic teens and twenty somethings who seem to think that they’re entitled to get what they want, when they want it, and preferably not have to pay for it. If they don’t, the result is a temper tantrum. Naturally, teen girls idolize her, apparently without realizing that, unlike Britney, they don’t have the means of getting themselves out of the trouble that emulating her behavior will land them in. Detox costs money, girls. So do babies. So does a divorce. Furthermore, Britney, Paris, and company have turned the women’s movement completely on its ear. They now are easily the equals of men when it comes to boorish behavior. Was that the idea?
George W. Bush: Hey, I voted for the guy. Twice. And I still admire his backbone in the face of adversity. But the fact is that through his mismanagement of both the budget and the Iraq war, coupled with an arrogant refusal to listen to the advice of others, he has single handedly delivered the Congress to the Democrats. The Presidency will probably be next. And before any of you “My-President-Right-Or-Wrong” types go reaching for the hand grenades, I would offer you this little factoid to consider: the country is now being run by Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman, and Ted Kennedy. Happy about that? Thanks a lot, George. This, of course, brings me to my next point.
Nancy Pelosi: Just making sure I piss off everyone here. Nancy Pelosi makes Hillary Clinton look like Margaret Thatcher. A liberal in the worst sense of the word, she is the face of Nanny Government. In the world of Nancy Pelosi, I’m not allowed to smoke a cigar on the beach, but I CAN go to the nearest methadone clinic and get a free fix and syringe. In her world, my kid is not allowed to say a prayer in school, but he CAN get a free condom from the school nurse. And by the way, if I want to send that kid to college, I have to pay for it out of my pocket, while my tax dollars go to giving an illegal immigrant a scholarship. Thanks, Nancy. And thanks again, George.
Outsourcing: Tried calling customer service for Dell or Symantec lately? You get to talk to a pleasant chap with an almost undecipherable Indian accent who calls himself “Harry”. Now, believe me, I have nothing against “Harry”. Like me, he’s just a working stiff who’s trying to feed his family. I’ll bet he thinks outsourcing is a pretty nifty idea. But it seems to me that American companies that market the majority of their products to Americans, and make the majority of their money off Americans, should be employing Americans. Is this really such a radical concept?
iPods: This one will probably piss off more people than the one about George Bush, but I don’t care. To me, it’s a generational thing. Kids today seem to think they have a God Given right to be entertained 24/7, and the iPod epitomizes this in my mind. That, along with the relentless marketing which implies that you are a lower form of life if you don’t own one, makes the iPod one of the most odious inventions ever. That, and the fact that I still can’t figure out how to work mine.
Cell phones: I hate these even more iPods. If the iPod symbolizes our culture’s need for non-stop entertainment, than the cell phone symbolizes our culture’s utter abandonment of common courtesy. God forbid someone should actually put the goddamned thing down for two seconds and have a real face to face conversation with someone. The Blackberry belongs in the same rubbish bin. Which brings me to my next point:
Text messaging: I’ve actually had teens tell me that they would rather TM someone than have a real conversation, because of all those, like, awkward pauses. We are raising a generation of kids that are technologically savvy but have no real communication skills. Johnny can’t read, he can barely talk, but he sure can TM.
Nanotechnology: A nano is one millionth of a millimeter. Poison gas made with nanothechnology makes conventional gas masks useless. I don’t know very much about nanotechnology, but it scares the hell out of me. Somewhere out there someone is figuring out how to use this to create a more efficient way of killing lots of people at once. This seems like a rather high price to pay for sunscreen that doesn’t leave a white film.
Political Correctness: This is what the Nancy Pelosis of the world use to stifle free speech. Last time I checked, the First Amendment applies to everyone, not just those who are saying what you want to hear. Calling someone the “N” word is reprehensible, but pointing out the reason there are not more blacks in baseball is because most athletically gifted black youths gravitate to either football or basketball is not. People should learn the difference.
Rap “Music”: I think I hate this more than anything. Rap “music” has probably done more to contribute to the coarsening of American society than any single cultural influence. I know some will condemn me as a racist for saying this, but I do not think it is racist to deplore an “art form” that glorifies violence, misogyny, and irresponsible procreation. Rappers refer to women as “bitches” and “’ho’s”, and not only get away with it, but become stars. Yes, I know the First Amendment protects your right to rap. But it also protects my right to deplore it.
Global Warming: The thing I hate most about this issue is how it’s become completely politicized. The Liberal/Democrat types breathlessly gush about the need to save the planet. Until, of course, someone comes up with idea of planting a wind farm in their backyard. And, naturally, the Conservative/Republican types poo-poo the whole idea because they’ll be damned if they’re going to agree with anything the Liberal/Democrats say. Personally, I think there could be something to the idea, but now that it’s become a political issue, the truth will be the first casualty. In the meantime, the liberals will glom onto this one because it gives them another convenient excuse to expand the Nanny government. I have little faith that the government will be honest and forthcoming with this issue, irrespective of who’s in power. Which brings me to my final point:
The anti-smoking movement: If ever there was something that has brought the notion of Big Brother/Nanny government to full horrendous flower, it is this. Tobacco is a legal product that is enjoyed by millions, but by perpetuating the myth that even transient exposure to second hand smoke is dangerous, the anti-smoking crowd have created an environment in which I have seen my rights eroded, and seen myself degraded to basically one notch above a child molester simply because I enjoy tobacco. Yes, you heard me correctly: I enjoy smoking, as do millions of other people. I know there are risks, but that’s my problem, and my decision. You don’t want to smell the smoke emanating from my pipe? No problem. The fact is that both smokers and non-smokers could easily be accommodated. There is room in any town for smoking and smoke free establishments. But no, we can’t have that. Big Brother doesn’t like tobacco, therefore nobody can like tobacco. And now even employers are getting into the act. The Scots company recently fired an employee because he was a smoker. NOT for smoking on the job, mind you. He was fired for engaging in a legal activity on HIS OWN TIME. Just remember this: if Big Brother can take away my pipe, he can take away your little vice, too.
So there it is: my take on the 21st century. Now, without further ado, I’m going to turn off the computer, light my pipe, wind my pocket watch, and spend the next hour reading something by Arthur Conan Doyle.